Close race in the Great North

November 4, 2019

There is no easy terrain within the Great North Midget Hockey League. As the Soo Jr. Greyhounds are setting the pace, Kapuskasing Flyers, North Bay Major Trappers, Sudbury Nickel Capital Wolves, Timmins Majors and New Liskeard Cubs are all in close pursuit.

The Soo leads the Great North pack with 21 points from a record of 10-3-1. Kapuskasing (7-4-0) and North Bay (7-6-0) are next with 14 points apiece but the Flyers have three games in hand on the Soo.

Close by is Sudbury with 13 points from a record of 6-3-1 and of note, the Nickel Capital Wolves have four games in hand on the Soo and have played three fewer matches than North Bay.

Then there are Timmins and New Liskeard, who have both shrugged off sluggish starts to become factors in the Great North race.

Timmins has won four of its past five games and now has 10 points from a record of 4-5-2.

And New Liskeard, after starting the season with four straight losses, is 4-0-1 in its last five outings and now has nine points from a record of 4-4-1. Coach Steve Polyblank’s Cubs have played just nine games which is, for example, five fewer than the Soo and four less than North Bay.

On the individual chart, forwards Devin Mauro (12-8-20) of the Soo and Brendan Aubertin (11-9-20) of Kapuskasing are the league scoring leaders followed closely by Nathaniel Lalonde (10-7-17) of North Bay, Ethan Esposito (9-8-17) of the Soo and three players with 16 points apiece — Landon Deforge (7-9-16) of Timmins and Jackson Buffam (6-10-16) and Benjamin White (6-10-16) both of New Liskeard.

Timmins, for one, has benefited from a balanced points parade featuring forwards and defenseman.

Besides the aforementioned Deforge and his seven goals, fellow forwards Desmond Brazeau and Pierre Racicot have dented the twine five times each. Meanwhile, defensemen Gavin Martel (4-4-8), Keaston Blais (1-5-6) and Mason Berthiaume (2-2-4 in just seven games) have all contributed offensively for hard-driven, hard-driving Majors coach Brandon Perry.

As for the goalies, Gavin Disano of the Soo has a 2.59 goals against average followed by Caleb Sanders of the North Bay Minor Trappers with a 2.69 mark and Evan Nicholls of Timmins with a 2.79 showing. And Zach Prusky of New Liskeard has gone 2-0-1 in his last three starts to significantly lower his goals against average to 3.84.

Meanwhile, the league’s two minor midget teams are polar opposites in terms of games played. The North Bay Minor Trappers have played 12 games and have a 4-7-1 record while the Sudbury Minor Wolves are 0-3-1 in just four games. (The two minor midget teams do not take part in the league playoffs at the end of the season.)

PHOTO: Timmins Majors celebrate a recent victory.

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